The Royals couldn’t come up with the big hit they needed, producing just one run from eight hits and five walks in a 3-1 loss to New York on Sunday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.
Yankees starter Don Gullett picked up his 100th career win by working out of trouble all day. Kansas City did not go in order in any of their nine innings, but Gullett managed to hold them to a scattering of singles and walks. Leadoff singles in the first and second innings went to waste. In the fourth, Amos Otis walked with one out and stole second, but was stranded at third.
At last, the Royals got on the board in the fourth. With two outs, Gullett issued walks to Freddie Patek and Frank White. George Brett’s single, one of four hits he had on the day, scored Patek and moved White to third, with Brett taking second on the throw home. But Hal McRae popped up to end the inning.
In the seventh, the Royals got two more hits, but Gullett again retired McRae to end the threat. And in the ninth, White walked with two outs and Brett singled. Reliever Dick Tidrow took over for Gullett, who threw 164 pitches according to a newspaper account, and got McRae to ground out to end the game.
Royals starter Andy Hassler pitched well but lost for the third time in 1977, with all three losses coming against the Yankees. New York picked up two runs in the first, with a two-out rally starting with Patek’s error on a Thurman Munson grounder. Chris Chambliss doubled, and Lou Piniella singled to drive in both runners.
Hassler retired nine of 10 batters after that, before the Yankees produced four of their eight hits in the fifth inning. Graig Nettles started the inning with a single, but Hassler induced a double play ball from Paul Blair. Bucky Dent and Willie Randolph restarted the rally with singles, and Roy White doubled to score Dent. Hassler was able to escape by retiring Chambliss on a grounder, but the Yankees still held a 3-1 lead.
The Royals dropped to 53-40 with the loss. They stayed in second place in the AL West but fell four games behind Chicago.
Box score and play-by-play:
Today’s birthday: Jason Smith (1977)